(AP) – Jordan has signed a $10bn deal with Russia to build the kingdom’s first nuclear power plant, with two 1,000-megawatt reactors in the country’s north.
The deal, signed in the Jordanian capital, Amman, on Tuesday caps efforts of the energy-poor kingdom to attain energy sufficiency and reduce imports in this area. Jordan lacks any local energy sources and imports 96 percent of its electricity.
The violence in neighbouring Iraq and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula has threatened and in many cases, completely cut off electricity supplies in Jordan.
According to the state’s Petra news agency, Jordan plans to finish construction of the plant in Amra by 2022. There are hope it will be fueled with uranium mined in Jordan.
The deal was signed with Russia’s state-owned Rosatom company.
“As you know, we lost the oil from Iraq, natural gas from Egypt, and the country has been bleeding and losing on an average $3bn every year,” said Khalid Toukan, head of the Jordanian Atomic Energy Commission.
“Nuclear power is definitely one of the solutions to graduate from total dependency on oil and gas,” he added.
“I am optimistic that the raw materials, the yellow cake, will come from Jordan.”
He was referring to the kingdom’s large uranium deposits discovered in 2007 but still undeveloped.
Rosatom’s director Sergei Kiriyenko promised to use Russia’s 70 years of experience with nuclear energy with “post-Fukushima lessons” while building the plant, which is among 20 the company is constructing across the world.
“The power plant is the embodiment of a real strategic partnership,” Kiriyenko said.
Under the deal, Jordan must buy fuel from Rosatom for the reactors for 10 years, after which it may seek other suppliers. The Jordanian government will have a slight majority ownership, with Rosatom owning 49 percent of the plant, according to theJordan Times.
Earlier this year, Rosatom signed an agreement, the details of which have not been announced, to build two reactors in Hungary.
And last month, during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Egypt, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding to build Egypt’s first nuclear power plant at an existing nuclear site in Dabaa, on the Mediterranean coast where a research reactor has stood for years.